Last week we had a look at St George’s sole championship win in the NSL. This week we take a look at their two Grand Finals for which they qualified during their NSL years, both of which ended with victories to the Saints. While both competitions were considered an end of season finals tournament, and not classified as championship deciders, the Saints still went on to defeat that season’s respective title holders in the Grand Finals.
The first NSL Grand Final in which the Saints qualified and won, was against Sydney City in 1982, held at Penrith Park in front of a crowd of 6145. The Slickers, as they were known, had won the championship by nine points from St George, and defeated the Saints 3-0 in the major semi final. But after the Saints overcame Wollongong Wolves 2-0 in the preliminary final at Wollongong Showground (now WIN Stadium), the Saints turned the tables on Sydney City in the Grand Final. Dez Marton scored a hatrick for St George in the 3-1 win with John Kosmina scoring a late penalty for Sydney City.
The Saints line up that day was: Terry Greedy, David Skeen, Robert O’Shea, David Ratcliffe, Mike O’Shea, Paul Wilkinson, Peter Stone, John O’Shea, Robbie Slater, Ted McDougall, Dez Marton.
It would be five years before St George would make the Grand Final again, this time defeating the championship winners APIA Leichhardt 4-0, at Parramatta Stadium, in front of a crowd of 6961. APIA had won the league title by six points ahead of Preston and St George. It was the Saints who got through to the Grand Final, after getting past Preston (then coached by current Wellington Phoenix coach, Ernie Merrick) in the qualifying semi and APIA in the major semi, before clashing with APIA, again, in the Grand Final.
The Saints team can be seen in this photo celebrating that win.
Back row: Frank Arok (coach), Kevin Hagan, George Kulscar, Graeme Fletcher, Steve O’Connor, Craig Moffitt, Mike Gibson, Mike O’Shea, Mike Grbevski, Atti Abonyi (asst coach on end).
Front row: Peter Petkovski, Zoran Ilic, Pedro Ricoy, Alan Pottier, David Green, Andy Koczka, Scott Ollerenshaw.